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2023 Miracle Northern Championship at Delph Sailing Club

by Nigel Reddecliffe 9 May 2023 09:49 PDT 6-7 May 2023
2023 Miracle Northerns at Delph - Saturday race 2: The second start © Chris Ball

2023 Miracle Northern Championship sponsored by the Bank Top Brewery and 1st Mark, held on "Coronation Weekend", Saturday 6th and Sunday 7th 2023, at Delph Sailing Club, Bolton.

It was just a week before this event, that the brilliant splurges of white and pink cherry blossom flushed over Lancashire - only to be wantonly thrown and scattered by thrashing gusty winds as resultant bare branches (and a ghostly green of budding leaves) remained dancing and weaving in the sudden windy rain storms!

Of course on the day, we had a silent stillness as we went up to 900 feet early Saturday 5th May morning to note the Club flags meekly fluttering on a dry gentle inconsistent breeze as thirteen polished Miracles were prepared and sails were rigged at the waters edge of our completely full reservoir. All calm, and no nervous folk, nor snapping sails, just a civilised push-off into a nicely ruffled water and the fleet being serenely adjusted into order behind the start line.

At the start gun, all went off without any hitch - indeed the only problem was the presence of two boats bearing the same sail number though one hull was black and the other hull was white, so once observed, the "Problem" disappeared! However the diminishing strength and variable wind direction started to sort out the more experienced from the newest of helms and the fleet separated into three groups - and more, as some sailed into slightly faster winds and others became slowed down (though never becalmed).

Simon Evans and daughter Lucy in Miracle 2772 lead much of the race but were eventually to finish second to Wayne Atherton /Angela Sweeney in 4121 (black hull) and Graham Watts /Helen Jacks in 4114 not far behind took 3rd Place. Ian Brown and daughter Lily sailed a good race and had observed their opportunities well to capture 4th place, somewhat above expectations - congratulations Meanwhile Alan Barton /Nicola Gillham in 4065 came good after in sitting at 7th position for some while, managed to catch a better wind and to surge into finishing 5th just ahead of Louis Moulden / Lukas Skeehan in 4100.

The 3 lap race was shortened to two laps and a leg to obtain a tea break with the remainder of the fleet all finishing the race without incident or upset.

The second race was set to start at 3.00pm under a slight increase in wind strength to force 2, though still subject to directional variance. This resulted in a general recall and then a second start, which had only just had been sounded before yet another change of wind direction occurred as the fleet broke the start line and then all had to change direction to retain some power and avoid collisions! Some very near manoeuvres and raised voices, but sense prevailed and the fleet got clean away OK!

The wind was just a mere shade stronger and steadily directed than the earlier experience but the order of performance was nigh identical with results of race 1 and a maximum difference in position of 3 placements. The Smiths, Richard / Teddy improving to 6th from 9th in the first race whilst Alan Barton dropped to 8th from 5th in the first race others changed performance by 2 positions or less whilst Graham Watts 4114, Martin Bathe 59, and Dominic Stanger 4009 suffered no change of finish positioning at all.

With 3 races to count out of 5 races available, the Sunday racing had everything to sail for!

Starting at 11:00 hrs on a slightly simpler course with less variable directional winds, Race 3 saw Wayne Atherton 4121 leading Simon Evans & daughter 2772 well away from Louis Moulden who came through in 3rd place whilst Alan Barton 4065 recovered performance to take a finish in 4th place ahead of the Cronshaw team in 4056 5th finisher, Graham Watts / Helen Jacks sailed 4114 to 6th finisher. Ian Brown & daughter Lily, still sailing with perception, took 7th over the finish line chased by the Smiths in 4124 pretty much in the middle of the competition at 8th finishers.

From a spectators viewpoint the lake was now a mixture of performance indicating streaks and low wind patches with little definition of what to expect! Dave Haslam /Ned Manock in White Hulled (4121 rig) took the finish at 9th over the line and were just ahead of the Naylors, Sam and Ellliot in 3493 finishing 10th, Bill Morris /Molly Haslam 3414 came next at 11th but four boats were recorded as non finishers (3796, 59, 4009 & 3825).

After a welcome lunch, sunshine appeared for the afternoon but races Four and indeed Five as well needed to be run as it was only when Race Five had been completed that a clear result could be declared. Who would be crowned King? There was all to play for between Simon and Wayne. Unfortunately Wayne had a gear problem, when his tiller extension got stuck under the horse and sent the boat spinning. Although he recovered without the dire consequence of a capsize, it did put him considerably behind. He never recovered to catch Simon and Lucy. Well done to you both!

Suffice to say the sunshine was welcome but made no difference to wind performance just to the result sheets at the end. Yes, Louis got it very right in race 4 but retired tired at race 5!

Delph Sailing Club would like to thank the Bank Top Brewery, Bolton and 1st Mark, Golborne for sponsoring the event.

Overall Results:

PosHelm CrewClubSail NoR1R2R3R4R5Pts
1Simon EvansLucy EvansDelph2772[2]1[2]113
2Wayne AthertonAngela SweeneyDelph41211[2]1[4]24
3Louis MouldenLukas & Ryan SkeehanDelph4100[6]432[16]9
4Graham WattsHelen JacksStaunton Harold411433[6][10]410
5Alan BartonNicola GillhamDelph40655[8]4[7]312
6lan BrownLilly BrownDelph409845[7]6[6]15
7Steve Cronshaw Jacob CronshawDelph4056[16][16]53816
8Sam NaylorElliott NaylorDelph34937[9][10]8520
9Dave HaslamNed ManockDelph3809[10][10]95721
10Richard SmithTeddy SmithBroadwater3835968[9][9]23
11Bill MorrisMolly HaslamDelph34148711[12][11]26
12Will TaylorPoppy HaslamDelph37961012[16][13]1032
13Martin BatheJo HaslamDelph591111[16]11[12]33
14Dominic StangerJack FarrimondDelph4009131316[16][16]42
15Simon BoothRebekah BoothDelph3825[16][16]16141343

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